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Phenological changes in the Northwestern Mediterranean copepods Centropages typicus and Temora stylifera linked to climate forcing

TitlePhenological changes in the Northwestern Mediterranean copepods Centropages typicus and Temora stylifera linked to climate forcing
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsMolinero JB, Chifflet M, Souissi S, Ibanez F, Nival P
Journal Oecologia
Keywordsabundance, Centropages typicus, climate, climate change, copepod, crustacea, deep-sea, ecosystem, fish, Ligurian Sea, Mediterranean sea, ocean, recruitment, Temora stylifera

Planktonic copepods play a major role in the fluxes of matter and energy in the marine ecosystem, provide a biological pump of carbon into the deep ocean, and play a role in determining fish recruitment. Owing to such ecological considerations, it is essential to understand the role that climate might play in the interannual variability of these organisms and the mechanisms by which it could modify the ecosystem functioning. In this study, a causal chain of meteorological, hydrological and ecological processes linked to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) was identified in the Ligurian Sea, Northwestern Mediterranean. The forcing by the NAO drives most of the hydro-climatic variability during winter and early spring. Subsequently, interannual and decadal changes of the dominant copepods Centropages typicus and Temora stylifera were significantly correlated to the state of the hydro-climatic signal and tightly coupled to the NAO. Direct and indirect effects whose influence promoted phenological changes in the two copepod populations drove the species' responses to climatic forcing. Opposite responses ofthe analysed species were also highlighted by these results.While years characterized by the positive phase of the NAO leads to enhancement of the strength and the forward move of the C. typicus peak, they act negatively on the annual cycle of T. stylifera, the abundance ofwhich drops twofold and the annual peak appears delayed in time. In contrast, low NAO years lead to highabundance of T. stylifera and a forward timing of its peak, and acts in turn negatively on the C. typicus annualcycle in both abundance (low) and timing (delayed). Owing to the synchronism between hydro-climatic conditions and the NAO, and the major role of these species in the pelagic ecosystem of the studied area, these results provide key elements for interpreting and forecasting decadal changes of planktonic populations in the Ligurian Sea.

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